Susan Lessack

Employee wellness programs have become increasingly popular in recent years and they are mainly regulated under two federal laws.

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PROBLEM: A small group of your employees gathers in an open area during their lunch break to have a group prayer. What would you do in this situation?

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Q. Many of our employees have reached the top of the current pay scale. We just instituted a salary cap. The only employees affected are those with many years of service and are well into their 50s and beyond. Some of the affected employees are angry and say this is age discrimination.

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Q. When, if ever, can our company legally ask an applicant about his or her religious affiliation?

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Q. One of our employees is over age 70 and has had a broken foot, memory problems and a recent car wreck that caused some residual problems. Should we allow him to work? What can we do to protect ourselves from potential workers’ comp claims should he injure himself?

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Q. We have a question regarding our crews that work out of town and stay out for about four days. Can we be held liable if they get sick on a meal that was paid for by the company? We are thinking about paying a per diem instead to resolve this issue. If an employee is working on a road crew and takes off sick and stays in motel room, are we required to supply him the meal per diem?

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Q. I recently read an article about employees who were attacked or harassed at work by other employees who never should have been hired in the first place. How can an employer reduce its risk of liability for negligent hiring?

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Q. Is it illegal for managers to change exempt or nonexempt employees’ time sheets if they neglect to indicate that they took a day off?

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Q. Before we could counsel an employee about ongoing attendance problems, she was approved for intermittent FMLA to care for her mother. However, she continues to have attendance problems unrelated to her FMLA leave. Can we proceed with counseling and possible disciplinary actions while she is under FMLA?

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Q. How should we go about determining how much we need to pay employees for travel time?

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